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    Instagram Pronouns: Is it more than just gender identity?

    Hi, I am Rinda and you can address my gender pronoun as she, her and hers. What about you?

    Every Instagram users are excited about this new feature- Pronouns on Instagram. It’s a feature where users will be able to display their gender identities on their Instagram profiles. This is a much-needed feature where users with different gender identities can feel inclusive apart from just recognising themselves with their genders. Moving forward, let’s go deeper and understand more about gender pronouns

    What are gender pronouns?

    Grammatically, a pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun or noun phrase to refer to individuals. Gender pronouns are used specifically referring to someone’s gender. The most common use pronouns are she/her/hers and he/him/his which are binary oriented and excludes the non-binary ones. Non-gendered or nonbinary pronouns are not gender-specific and are most often used by people who identify outside of a gender binary. The most common set of nonbinary pronouns is they/them/theirs used in the singular. The terms “it” or “he-she” are slurs used against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, and should not be used because it’s disrespectful. 

    The list is not exhaustive but merely meant to provide examples


    Subjective Objective Possessive Reflexive Examples
    She Her Hers Herself She is studying.
    I studied with her.
    The book is hers.
    He  Him His Himself He is studying.
    I studied with him.
    The book is his.
    They Them Theirs Themself They are studying.
    I studied with them.
    The book is theirs.
    Name Name Name's Name's self Alex is studying.
    I studied with Alex.
    The book is Alex's.
    Ze ("zee") Zir ("zere")/ Hir ("here") Zirs/Hirs Zirself/Hirself Ze is studying.
    I studied with zir.
    The book is zirs.

    Why are gender pronouns important?

    It’s a fact that you can’t tell someone's gender pronouns by looking at them or based on their appearance. She or he does not represent the non-binary genders and when referred with wrong pronouns, we may make them feel disrespected, invalidated, invisible or alienated. Misgendering them can also be active psychological violence which is a denial of somebody’s personhood. Therefore, it’s important to acknowledge and use someone’s gender pronouns correctly especially for transgender or gender-nonconforming people to support and recognise them.

    Gender pronouns for an Inclusive Society 

    Using gender pronouns appropriately and showing respect can actually help build an inclusive society. By addressing non-binary genders with correct pronouns in everyday life be it at the workplace, home or anywhere can make them feel inclusive. We can start normalising the process of addressing gender pronouns in everyday use by including them in our email signature, business cards, website profile, and nametags, or using them as we introduce ourselves. We can also avoid misgendering people by asking their pronouns or how they would refer to themselves. Also, at the time if somebody doesn’t want to disclose their pronouns publicly, just refer by their name a not use an incorrect pronoun. 

    Little steps like these will contribute a lot to being inclusive. It will also instil more awareness about the inclusiveness of non-binary genders.

    Dos and Don’ts of Pronouns


    1. Recognise that pronouns are important for everyone and not just for non-binary genders.
    2. Ask for their pronouns along with name when you meet people.
    3. Always remember not everyone feels comfortable mentioning their pronouns publicly.
    4. If you are not sure of someone’s pronouns always address by their name.
    5. Make your language more gender-inclusive by saying, “Hi everyone/everybody” in a group instead of using gender-specific language like, “ Ladies and gentlemen”.


    1. Don’t refer pronouns that are not binary such as they/them/theirs as gender-neutral pronouns because it kind of disrespects non-binary genders. Better way to say is non-binary pronouns.
    2. Don’t stick to just male pronouns or female pronouns. Some people use binary pronouns but do not identify themselves as male or female.
    3. Don’t judge people’s gender pronouns by their appearances.

    Here’s  a quick guide to gender pronouns and how to get them right.

    Instagram Pronouns- a step towards Inclusivity

    Adding gender pronouns as a feature to the platform is a great step to building inclusivity in society. Launching the feature itself brings awareness to something that many people might not have thought or considered important before. The discussion around gender pronouns provides further education as to why it’s an important part of people’s identity that should be respected. It’s a great way for gender-nonconforming people or transgenders to openly come out as who they are and for others to accept them for the same.

    Steps to add Pronouns to your Instagram profile

    1. Log in to your Instagram account.
    2. Go to your profile and tap on the edit option
    3. Tap on the Pronouns option
    4. Add your pronouns

    For users under 18yrs, the pronouns will only be visible to their followers and not the public. 

    Instagram has not revealed in which countries the feature has been launched. The feature is not available yet in many countries including India, it has rolled out in the US and some people are able to use it. 

    Instagram has not revealed in which countries the feature has been launched. The feature is not available yet in many countries including India, it has rolled out in the US and some people are able to use it. 

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